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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 13, Part 1

November 10, 2014

feed_me_little_shop_horrorsHow Do You Solve a Problem Like Ivo?

Soon after the tomb raiders returned to the capital of Stagfell, Iofur, Mestinous, and Mestinous’ new bride Tamara also arrived back in town, fresh from an excursion to Restov. The trio had been investigating the Lord Ivo Tesarik, who has been holding Iofur’s parents in captivity for the past two decades. In reality,Iofur’s and Mestinous’ players were simply not able to make the previous session, but I used that absence as an opportunity to dump some background on them.

The three had dug up details of Tesarik’s shady past and present, and had actually left Restov just ahead of him. Tesarik and his retinue were traveling west along the South Rostland Road, supposedly on their way to an extended hunting expedition, which meant that they would probably be passing by Oleg’s Trading Post in the near future. The idea of ambushing the expedition and “taking out” Ivo was discussed, but there were a few sticking points. One, how to do so without harming Ivo’s personal staff, which included Iofur’s mother? And two, how to keep survivors of the ambush from telling the tale of how the rulers of Caerelia totally murdered this lord from Brevoy? Travaris the cleric floated the idea of just killing everyone (aside from Iofur’s mother), which caused Satampra the rogue to realize that perhaps he wasn’t Chaotic Neutral after all, given how bloodthirsty the CN members of the party seemed to be. And so the Baron changed his alignment to Chaotic Good.

The prospect of killing bystanders soured the rest of the group on the ambush idea, as well, and they started thinking about sneaking into Ivo’s mansion in Restov while he was away. Eventually they discarded that idea, too, as well as the thought of returning to the lonely barrow. It was decided that the trolls were the biggest threat to Caerelia at the moment, and that they needed to be taken out ahead of any personal quests. And so the council set out for a second time to confront the troll problem, somewhere to the south. So much for my hope that Ivo would distract the players from the trolls!

Rivers Run Red 13aBut why not explore some new territory along the way? They rode east from Stagfell, and travelled south along the banks of Lake Tuskwater. When they reached the Gurdin River (Gudrin? The map and text don’t agree on the name), they followed it east until they discovered a ford. They crossed the Gurdin, and started mapping the hills to the south and west, intending to procure some black rattlecap mushrooms for the Old Beldame before they started searching for the trolls in earnest.

One rainy night while they camped in the hills, a will-o-wisp lured Satampra and Boliden the barbarian over a 30’ cliff before being driven off. I keep getting wisps as random encounters, and I finally decided that I was tired of them being ineffectual at their primary shtick – luring travelers to their doom. So from here on out, all will-o-wisps can use suggestion 3/day to compel a target to follow the wisp.

Tendri-what-ulos?

The next morning, they located the mud bowl where black rattlecap mushrooms grew. Geothermal energy kept the 20’ diameter pool of mud hot and bubbling, and filled the air with noxious fumes. Fungi of all shapes and sizes grew on the edges of the pool, some as tall as an ogre. The group warily circled around the mud, expecting trouble.

And then they promptly threw caution to the wind. Satampra suggested that Travaris should advance solo to pick the rattlecaps while everyone else hung back, and the cleric agreed. The boozy, portly priest walked up to the bubbling mud and started to pluck the mushrooms. Then a fungus-covered boulder suddenly unfurled, rising to a height of 25’, before a mouth-like appendage rapidly descended over the cleric. It chomped down on him and lifted him into the air.

The rest of the group fumbled their initiative checks, but luckily Travaris got to act before the tendriculos went again (and improbably – he almost always goes last in initiative order). His luck continued as he was able to manage a prayer of sanctuary while grappled, and I ruled that the spell caused it to drop the grapple. But another attack like that would kill the cleric. Should he stay put or flee? He decided to run. And then his luck ran out.

The towering fungus monster made its saving throw against the sanctuary, shattering the protective ward, and then hit Travaris again with its AoO. I rolled near-maximum damage on both the first attack and the AoO, and the 2nd bite killed Travaris outright. The thing’s mouth came down on the fleeing cleric, and it scooped him up and swallowed him whole. The rest of the party hadn’t even gotten a chance to act yet.

On the creature’s own turn, it charged Iofur the druid, wrapping him up in a tentacle. The druid was just barely able to break free of the grapple, and ran away. Mestinous the elven wizard cast enlarge person on Boliden, and ran away. Satampra used the Stag Lord’s helm to sneak attack the tendriculos with an arrow, and ran away. Salar flung sling stones at the awful beast, and ran away. Only Boliden stayed to do battle with it.

As the now-giant barbarian charged the monster with his greataxe, he was struck with a tentacle AoO and hauled into the air. Then on its turn, it crammed the big man down into its gullet, smushing him on top of Travaris’ corpse. Boliden used his beast totem claws to shred his way out, as the others blasted the thing with fire, lightning, and well-placed arrows. Soon the tendriculos fell into a heap of charred fungus.

And so, for the second time, the “find the trolls” expedition was cut short before any trolls were actually found. The adventurers harvested what rattlecaps they could, and trudged back to Stagfell in the rain with the High Priest’s body slung over his faithful donkey’s back.

Next: succession of power!

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9 Comments
  1. Pinkius permalink

    Did this killer fungus happen to look a bit like a tree? I think I recall that monster, in that the gm let me have a little duel with it outside of the campaign. I think it did ability or acid damage or something… Regardless, a tough customer for a 1 on 1, or even a 2 on 1. Surprise round and an AoO from a single monster encounter can easily drop a tanky martial character, the full spellcaster should never leave the safety of marching order!

    • In 3e it looked like a big ball of moss with tentacles. This is the picture from the Kingmaker AP:

      3 attacks, 15′ reach, grab on each attack, size Huge (so really high grapple checks), and swallow whole. You take acid damage when you’re swallowed.

      It was a strange thing that happened. I think Satampra was half-joking about the cleric going up on his own, and the rest of the group was involved in a side discussion so they didn’t notice what was going on. Although Travaris probably would have lived if I had rolled a little less damage.

      The sad thing is, he had just gotten married! Now everyone is curious if he managed to get his bride pregnant before they left.

      • Pinkius permalink

        Is Travaris staying dead then? No talk of finding a scroll of raise dead?

      • Yeah, raise dead didn’t even get brought up as a possibility. I imagine the group might have balked at that after shelling out so much gold to get him un-stoned.

        Oh, and I forgot to mention the tendriculos also has regeneration. But that didn’t come up in this battle as it’s defeated by fire damage, which is Mestinous’ favorite.

      • Pinkius permalink

        and yet fire is the most resisted element in dnd, must be because it’s so iconic.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 12, Part 2 | Daddy DM
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  4. Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 11, Part 2 | Daddy DM

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